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Project bank account compliance

New laws

The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Act 2020 received assent on 23 July 2020.

This Act will replace project bank accounts with a new trust account framework, delivering a more streamlined framework. Read about the new trust account framework.

The following information only applies to project bank accounts for certain government contracts tendered after 1 March 2018 up to 28 February 2021.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regulates the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF Act), which establishes Project Bank Account (PBA) requirements. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

The BIF Act imposes requirements on the head contractor, who is trustee for the PBA. It also provides the principal with viewing rights over the PBA and requires the principal to report certain non-compliance to the QBCC.

The principal plays a significant role in monitoring the use of PBAs and reporting any non-compliance.

Read more in the Principals guidelines (PDF, 1.1MB).

Principal obligations

The principal has oversight of:

  • deposits into, and withdrawals from, the PBA
  • information relevant to payment instructions, including the account name and numbers
  • account payment reports detailing deposits into, and withdrawals from, PBAs

The principal has to take certain actions under the BIF Act in relation to PBA. This includes:

  • reporting payment discrepancies in a payment instruction to the QBCC, including payments to non-subcontractor beneficiaries
  • informing the QBCC about subcontractors that are related entities for the head contractor, where known.

Some important points to note:

  • The PBA doesn't alter the contractual rights and responsibilities of contractors.
  • The PBA doesn't remove the rights of subcontractors to seek adjudication or commence legal action if in dispute.


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